All things considered, it was probably going to wind up like this. It's not fair, and it's not right, and really it's unfortunate when everything shakes out. But Michael Beasley is damaged goods in the NBA. That's the cold, hard truth.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Heat have bought out James Jones from his contract. That's not really the big news, clearing $300,000 from their space. No, the meat of the story is in the last few lines, where Berger describes the Heat's situation with trying to trade Beasley. That situation can be summed up with the phrase "no one will touch it with a ten-foot pole."
Beasley's history is well documented. He came in as a goofball, obviously immature. Then there was the entire ordeal at the NBA rookie transition program . That was followed by the photos . Then the rehab stint , which was reported to be part of the fallout from the rookie program debacle.
This past year? Beasley kept out of trouble. He just showed up and went to work. But the work, the most important part, the element that would forgive all the rest of the shenanigans, that part suffered as well. He was constantly berated on the court by Dwyane Wade, who pretty clearly had had enough of the youngster. He was bigger, a little big to play the small forward spot, not big enough to play the power forward. Beasley's got one go-to offensive move, the pull-up 15 footer. And it is a thing of beauty. As silky as it was when he was knocking them down in Manhattan, Kansas, where he wishes he would have stayed .
But his game isn't there. He hasn't become a leader. He's still acting a clown.
All-Star Sophomore practice is a pretty ridiculous event. It's a bunch of media guys vying for time with a bunch of second year guys, mostly to ask them questions about their more famous teammates or how it "feels" to be part of All-Star Weekend. It deserves ridicule and a little bit of fun. And Beasley had his fun, dancing around the floor interviewing other players (including interrupting a riveting conversation I was having with O.J. Mayo) (it was not a riveting conversation), and playing around with Craig Sager. It was fun. Who cares? He's a big kid!
The issue is that in the context of his career, it belies a pattern of unprofessionalism. While the other players dutifully went through the process, Beasley had to stand out. It shows how he thinks of himself, where he considers himself in life. And the truth is, he's just not ready.
The Heat aren't struggling to move Beasley because of his game. It's not especially helpful being a low-rebound percentage, mid-range-jumpshot shooting tweener with questionable defense. But the kid has crazy athleticism and can shoot. That description is one of an NBA player. But the Heat can't get him out the door because of his head, and because of his reputation. If Beasley doesn't want to fade to the margins before falling through the cracks, if he wants to capitalize on the enormous amount of potential he has, he's going to have to go through substantial personal growth in a very short amount of time.
This league doesn't take care of its young, nurture them, or hold their hand. It lets the system work out its own kinks.
If Beasley can't get the kinks in his head worked out and contribute to whatever altered roster he's on, in Miami or elsewhere, he's going to be worked out, too.